My Mamiya RB67 and I go back a long way, beside a dumpster at a Tim Horton’s (a donut and coffee shop for those of you not from Canada) where I bought her off of a guy who was selling cameras he picked up from studios that had gone bankrupt. She was heavily used and in rough shape, but it was love at first sight.
Roberta (yes, I named her!) and I have taken many a long hike or snowshoe trek together. For a while, we were quite inseparable… but there was always something missing.
When I first got into the RB67 system, I wasn’t interested in shooting instant film on it. Mamiya had made a back that could support Fujifilm’s peel-apart film, but soon after I bought the camera, Fujifilm announced that they were discontinuing the film. Not being one to want to shoot a film, fall in love with it, and then have to stop shooting it, I decided that my two older Polaroid SX-70s would satisfy my instant cravings. Then, along came Rezivot Studios.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found out that someone had figured out how to shoot Polaroids on an RB67, it was a dream come true, and when I heard that Rezivot were no longer offering their conversion kits after August 31st, 2020, I sprang to action. Luckily I was also able to secure an Impossible Instant Lab, so I was all set.
Next came the build.
All in all, the build only took a couple of hours, but they were the most stressful hours of my life. Not only did I have to be careful not to strip the screws on the Instant Lab, I also had to rip it apart with my bare hands, all while hoping that I wasn’t making an irreparable mistake. Some of the instructions definitely could have been clearer since I spent most of the time second-guessing myself, but I did it. And better yet, it actually works!
I immediately loaded up with a box of 600 B&W, slapped a red filter on my Mamiya Sekor 65mm lens (because I could!) and set up for my first shot. Watching that first frame eject was so exciting, I was on pins and needles waiting for it to “develop”! Ten minutes later and I knew I was on to something good.
I ran through three boxes of 600 B&W, 600 Colour, and SX-70 Colour within a couple of days, and I am really impressed with the results. I played around with coloured filters and night photography (I even succeeded at star trails!). Because I have all of my beautiful Mamiya glass at my disposal, the images come out much sharper than on my SX-70s. What impresses me the most though is that the film itself does retain its beautiful dreamy quality, which is what attracts me to shoot Polaroids to begin with. The combination of the sharpness from the lenses and the natural ethereal characteristics are exactly what I was hoping for.
And the timing couldn’t be better because Fall Polaroid Week is running from October 18-23, 2020, and I am so ready to join in the fun for this year’s edition!
Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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